The Lalama Brothers: Erie Avenue (2014)

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The Lalama Brothers: Erie Avenue
The Lalama brothers have logged plenty of miles in the jazz world, but Erie Avenue, so named for the street where the brothers grew up in West Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, is the first record they've ever put out together.

Pianist Dave Lalama has worked with everybody from drum titan Buddy Rich
Buddy Rich
Buddy Rich
1917 - 1987
drums
to vocal icon Anita O'Day
Anita O'Day
Anita O'Day
1919 - 2006
vocalist
, and he currently helms Hofstra University's jazz program. Saxophonist Ralph Lalama
Ralph Lalama
Ralph Lalama
b.1951
saxophone
is a talented leader, sought after sideman, and mainstay in the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

band/orchestra
. Each man has carved out his own niche over the years, but time has done nothing to diminish the musical connection and chemistry shared between these brothers; they speak the same language, which they learned together long ago, and they love the musical conversations they have.

Erie Avenue brings the Lalama brothers together with the formidable rhythm section of bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington. Many a jazz fan will recognize that combination as the rhythmic core of pianist Bill Charlap
Bill Charlap
Bill Charlap
b.1966
piano
's heralded trio, but both men also have history with Ralph Lalama; they served as his rhythm section on Feelin' And Dealin' (Criss Cross, 1990), so this album serves as a reunion-of-sorts for all of them.

Together, this foursome gets funky ("Erie Avenue"), swings through the classics ("Four Brothers"), and delivers a winning tribute to the late Dennis Irwin
Dennis Irwin
Dennis Irwin
1951 - 2008
bass
("Till We Meet Again"). Other highlights on this group's playlist include a driving take on pianist Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
1934 - 2013
piano
's "Firm Roots" and a "Portrait Of Jennie" that's underscored by a dignified Kenny Washington tom groove.

While the majority of the album tracks are quartet offerings, the brothers Lalama bring saxophonist Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
into the party with his G mezzo soprano saxophone on two numbers—"Two For Two" and the calypso-leaning "Five Brothers." They also go it as a duo on the soulful "The Gospel According To..." and "Everything Happens To Me," which has Dave Lalama pulling double duty as singer and pianist.

The Lalama brothers have earned their jazz stripes a hundred times over by now, so they have nothing to prove, but they continue to push forward and spread the gospel of this great music. May they continue to keep on doing their thing(s)—together and apart—for many years to come.

Track Listing: Erie Avenue; Two For Two; Portrait Of Jennie; Five Brothers; Nofrey And Jennie; Four Brothers; Till We Meet Again; Firm Roots; The Gospel According To...; Everything Happens To Me.

Personnel: Ralph Lalama: tenor saxophone; Dave Lalama: piano; Peter Washington: bass; Kenny Washington: drums; Joe Lovano: G mezzo soprano saxophone (2, 4).

Record Label: Self Produced

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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